Extending a large-scale model to better represent water resources without increasing the model’s complexity

Horan, Robyn; Rickards, Nathan J. ORCID:; Kaelin, Alexandra; Baron, Helen E. ORCID:; Thomas, Thomas; Keller, Virginie D.J.; Mishra, Prabhas K.; Nema, Manish K.; Muddu, Sekhar; Garg, Kaushal K.; Pathak, Rishi; Houghton-Carr, Helen A.; Dixon, Harry ORCID:; Jain, Sharad K.; Rees, Gwyn ORCID: 2021 Extending a large-scale model to better represent water resources without increasing the model’s complexity [in special issue: Planning and operations of adaptive multi-objective multi-reservoir systems] Water, 13 (21), 3067. 26, pp.

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The increasing impact of anthropogenic interference on river basins has facilitated the development of the representation of human influences in large-scale models. The representation of groundwater and large reservoirs have realised significant developments recently. Groundwater and reservoir representation in the Global Water Availability Assessment (GWAVA) model have been improved, critically, with a minimal increase in model complexity and data input requirements, in keeping with the model’s applicability to regions with low-data availability. The increased functionality was assessed in two highly anthropogenically influenced basins. A revised groundwater routine was incorporated into GWAVA, which is fundamentally driven by three input parameters, and improved the simulation of streamflow and baseflow in the headwater catchments such that low-flow model skill increased 33–67% in the Cauvery and 66–100% in the Narmada. The existing reservoir routine was extended and improved the simulation of streamflow in catchments downstream of major reservoirs, using two calibratable parameters. The model performance was improved between 15% and 30% in the Cauvery and 7–30% in the Narmada, with the daily reservoir releases in the Cauvery improving significantly between 26% and 164%. The improvement of the groundwater and reservoir routines in GWAVA proved successful in improving the model performance, and the inclusions allowed for improved traceability of simulated water balance components. This study illustrates that improvement in the representation of human–water interactions in large-scale models is possible, without excessively increasing the model complexity and input data requirements.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2073-4441
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: large-scale model, hydrology, groundwater, reservoirs, Cauvery, Narmada
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 10 Nov 2021 14:34 +0 (UTC)

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